Learn how to simplify mornings by making an amazing kids’ morning routine with easy tasks they can consistently do. (+FREE CHORE CHART)
A morning cycle that your child can regularly follow is one of the best parenting tips you’ll use in your entire parenthood. My son uses the same schedule when getting ready for school in the morning but even if your child is at home you need this.
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When I wake up my son at the same time daily, he has more structure for the rest of the day too. I make any and all efforts (carrot and stick?!) to get him out of bed to prevent the rest of his day going completely out of order.
Also, a set sequence of tasks to follow during his morning routine has helped keep the power struggles at bay. Even the things your kids hate doing (e.g. brushing his teeth or hair) can become easier (not easy, just easier in our house) over time.
Because otherwise, I know, for example, if I skip brushing his hair this morning, he would remember this more than the bajillion mornings when he did brush and would want to skip things more often.
The key to a good routine with my son has been ‘same time, same activity’.
Also, it helps to put a visual reminder in front of kids to remind them what they have to do.
For this purpose, I have created a morning routine checklist because most available online are for sale and not for free. But you can download this printable morning routine for kids printable free of cost. Just laminate it and reuse daily.
My kids morning routine
Wake-up Prayer/Cuddling Session
When its 7 o clock, I go to my son and say our morning prayer beside him as I wake him up with cuddles and kisses. I don’t like that he wake ups by himself to feel that he is alone and no one is attending him.
Even if I’m doing the most important task, I drop stuff, close things and only attend to him when its wake up time.
(Now this happens most days which means yes there are exceptional days when he wakes up before his time and comes to me instead. Then I pick him and take him back to bed or if he’s completely awake, we turn to the next thing…)
If you want your child to wake up early, make sure you put them to bed early the day before too. And also that your child has had a playful enough day to feel tired by then. My son is in bed at 7 pm mostly. Means dinner and bathroom session start as early as 6 pm. If he needs napping (usually in summers), it’s way early during the day (around 1 pm)… or none. Also that they sleep comfortably and sleep well through the night.
Once you wake them up in the morning, remind them about the exciting thing they get to do when they’re ready. My son usually likes going to his preschool. Seriously. Because he can play with his friends.
But even on the weekends, we attach exciting things like visiting his favorite places (zoo with a bag of bananas for the elephant in our case) so he’s up and ready in no time.
Most mornings, the first thing my son likes doing is a check on the toys he put under his pillow the night before. Over time this has become an important part of my son’s morning routine.
I make sure my phone/laptop is out of his sight else he asks for cartoons. This is absolutely not the first thing he should start his day with.
Because I read somewhere that: the things you do in the first hour will stick to your mind throughout the rest of the day.
So he takes out all his toys and we go put them in their ‘correct’ places (which according to my son is the floor in circles or rows). We play a bit, then I let him continue and I go prepare the breakfast.
If only we understood their ‘setting’
I like to give him his first serving of fruit for the day. Mostly it’s apple or mango or sometimes even banana. During this time, he shares his plans for that day with me.
Then he usually takes the same thing e.g. bread and scrambled egg every day. This is good for him and me as it reduces the mealtime power struggles down to other times of the day.
If I told you this part is easy, that won’t describe the true picture of each morning at our home. While I can’t force him to potty every day at exactly the same time down to the minute, I do take care of giving him his meals and snacks at their correct times. This has tuned his metabolism in return to conform with our schedule and it mostly happens at the same time. (Unless we change/disturb his eating schedule or if he eats something different his tummy isn’t accustomed to yet.)
If you’re struggling with your child’s potty training, this book about potty training in a weekend is a must read. Kids today are not as simple as we were back in the day and the author who is also a mom of four knows modern parenting.
Then I take him for brushing teeth and washing his face and hands. (Or for the morning shower if it’s summers).
The reason why we brush his teeth after his breakfast is so he can continue with the day freely without having his breath smell like an egg. (That is, if he brushed right after waking up and before having breakfast).
That way I don’t have to worry that some food is still stuck in his teeth.
When he comes out of the bathroom he wipes his face with a towel. We always keep it in the same place and hung close to him. We apply lotion on his face under my watchful eye. (Or you must have also had episodes of an intense face/body/clothes massages using up entire bottles/jars.)
Don’t take it to heart. This happens.
Then he dresses up and brushes his hair under my still-watching eyes.
Putting away toys
My son loves to pack his bag.
With a daily bag packing routine, he has come to accept what all can go in. This took time, but I stayed firm and never allowed him to take ALLL the toys that he wanted to.
Then together we put away the rest of the toys into their baskets and boxes before we leave for school.
The most important aspect of your kids’ morning routine
Every time I let my son spend time doing what his mood wants, he doesn’t know what to expect next. And at such a young age that doesn’t make him feel confident. Then he gets bored easily and says no too easily too.
The most important thing in a routine is knowing the ‘whats’ and the ‘whens’.
The ‘how tos’ come with time.
I also aim to teach him the ‘wheres’.
This may mean having meals at the same place every day – the table in the living room. Then he doesn’t run about with food in his hand in the entire house.
This way he knows the right place for each task and the items used in performing those tasks. E.g. like having the towel hung at the same place every day. (Or is that a task only in our house?)
Remember that things don’t always go perfectly.
But you will feel more anchored in having a kids morning routine you consistently follow. Just focus on creating a set of standard ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘where’ time for your child’s daily tasks. If you feel that you want more help, check out this amazing book on routines and schedules for kids 6 wks – 5 Yrs.
Fill in the form above to download this one-page free printable morning routine chart with pictures alongside the checklist.
Here’s why this daily routine chart for 5 year old kids is perfect. You can laminate it and put it in their room with a marker/stickers. This makes it reusable every week.